Seven best practices that structure or expand virtual care models to enhance patient-centered care and thereby improve the patient experience, quality and health outcomes.
1) Support a sustainable infrastructure
By partnering with government, companies and other healthcare stakeholders can create a sustainable infrastructure to facilitate coordinated care across devices, health apps, technologies, and care settings. Part of that sustainable infrastructure creates reliable connectivity and bandwidth that become available to people in even the most-rural corners of our country and to people at all socioeconomic levels. That availability will translate into the ability to send and receive data faster, which promises an enormous shift in speed, which can better connect people and expand what’s possible today.
2) Improve health literacy
A virtual-care model must consider the delivery of health information to diverse populations, many of which may have problems communicating with their health providers, reading instructions on medications, or completing medical and insurance forms.
Consider how to improve health literacy, how to translate vital information, and how to deliver that vital information to people in a way they can relate to and understand—all in an effort to help improve appropriate health decisions and change patient behaviors.
3) Take a persona-based, patient-centric approach
Healthcare organizations must assess complete sets of patients in populations and divide them into different personas as well as health-issue-based segments. In addition to personas, they must have the ability to develop dynamic, individualized experiences. These factors together inform how technology-based engagement needs to be addressed. This patient-centric approach requires deliberate planning to define health consumer groups so that the virtual-patient-care experiences address sensitivities, are structured in ways that result in the right levels of care, and deliver the best experience.
For example, Wolters Kluwer teams designed virtual user interface technology for a smoking-cessation program years ago and patient focus groups said the tone and the voice did not sound like one that understood their struggles as smokers, so they were not motivated to change. When the voice talent did not conceal that she had been a smoker and used her natural instead of her professional recording voice, she helped connect with patient, and it made a huge difference in their willingness to engage in making changes.
4) Rethink how to engage
Care has a new front door, and healthcare organizations must therefore rapidly rethink the approach for populations so that the populations walk through that door. It requires an entirely new approach to engagement—especially when populations are hard to reach, non-English speaking, or uncomfortable with technology.
Consider proven ways to incorporate virtual care so that people adhere to their care plan consistently because they can now engage in a way they understand and recall what’s being asked of them, which then ties back to something that matters to them.